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Cataract Treatment: Removing the Cloudy Lens

A cataract is a clouding of your eye's lens. Surgery can be done to remove the cataract and replace the lens. This can improve how well you see. The most common methods to remove a cataract are phacoemulsification and extracapsular extraction.



A small cut (incision) is made in your cornea, the clear cover on the front of your eye. Or it may be made in the white part of your eye (sclera). Then a hole is made in the anterior capsule. This is the space between your cornea and the colored part of your eye (iris). An ultrasound probe is inserted into the lens. Sound vibrations from the probe break the cloudy lens into tiny pieces. The pieces are then suctioned out. Stitches may or may not be needed after the procedure.

Extracapsular extraction


This method makes a larger incision in the cornea. The entire lens can then be removed at once through the incision. Stitches are used to close the incision after the procedure.

Implanting an IOL

After the cloudy lens is removed, it can be replaced with a plastic lens called an IOL (intraocular lens). 

Online Source: Cataract Surgery, American Academy of Ophthalmology <a href="" target="_blank"></a>
Online Source: Facts About Cataract, NIH - National Eye Institute <a href="" target="_blank"></a>
Online Editor: Tchang, Kimberly
Online Medical Reviewer: Bogus, William J., OD, FAAO
Online Medical Reviewer: Sather, Rita, RN
Date Last Reviewed: 6/15/2015
Date Last Modified: 7/29/2015
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